Cash for new Kirklees College development is agreed

COUNCIL bosses have now officially agreed to release £2.9 million to fund a new college facility in Dewsbury.

Kirklees Council’s cabinet this week unanimously agreed to provide the cash that will see Kirklees College partially relocate to Pioneer House on Northgate.

The iconic Pioneer House will be transformed into a centre for higher level skills, apprenticeships and post-19 studies, specialising in creative and digital media, art, healthcare, business and finance.

A major new purpose-built facility will also be developed by Kirklees College on wasteland next to Lidl on Bradford Road.

The two new centres will replace the College’s current premises – Dewsbury Centre and Batley School of Art – both located on Halifax Road.

Kirklees College plans to open the facilities, dubbed the ‘Dewsbury Learning Quarter’, in 2018.

Acting deputy principal Melanie Brooke said: “It’s a very exciting time for us and for Dewsbury, not only will we be able to provide further training and learning opportunities, but this development will also play a part in boosting the town’s economy in the long run.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we are already looking forward to the eventual opening in 2018 of the facilities and what we hope will be the start of a new journey for staff, students, employers and the wider community.”

This is the first major scheme in the so-called North Kirklees Growth Zone (NKGZ) project – a long-term regeneration programme that aims to promote ‘transformational change’ in Dewsbury.

Additional funding has come from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Skills Capital Fund and the Heritage Lottery fund.

Coun Peter McBride, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The move is an important first step in the North Kirklees Growth Zone.

“This is not only a priority for the council but it is important for the City Region.

“The LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority have provided funding which will support the creation of a new learning quarter in Dewsbury bringing the vibrancy and footfall connected with the college into the town centre.”

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